11 March 2013

Diabetes Patients Taking GLP-1 Based Medication Has Reduced Risk of Heart Failure

GLP-1 and Diabetes
A study shows that diabetes patients taking a class of medication targeting the GLP-1 hormone has a reduced risk of heart disease.

Diabetes is one of the most serious health problems around. In the next 20 years, diabetes is expected to affect nearly 552 million people globally.

There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is a commonly hereditary condition where the immune system starts to attack insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin is needed by the body to regulate the blood sugar levels in the bloodstream.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common of the two types. It accounts for 95% of cases of diabetes. In Type 2 diabetes, there is not enough insulin produced by the body or that the insulin produced is being rejected by the cells.

The growth of cases of Type 2 diabetes is generally associated with the rise of obesity. Every 10 seconds, 3 people will be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Every 10 seconds, 1 person will die from it due to complications arising from it.

Heart disease, kidney failure, and stroke are the top diabetes related complications. There is no cure for diabetes. The disease can only be managed through glucose monitoring, insulin injections and other medications that help regulate blood sugar levels.

One medication used by diabetes patients to manage diabetes are DPP-4 inhibitors. DPP-4 inhibitors prevent DPP-4 (Dipeptidyl peptidase-4) from breaking down a hormone called GLP-1 (Glucagon-like peptide-1).

GLP-1 is a hormone released from the gut that travels to the pancreas and allows the increased production of insulin when glucose levels starts rising.

GLP-1 also holds back the production of a hormone called Glucagon. Glucagon encourages the liver to convert glucose reserves into active glucose. By holding back the production of glucagon, the levels of glucose in the bloodstream are minimized.

GLP-1 does not live long as DPP-4 breaks down the hormone. By inhibiting DPP-4, GLP-1 hormones lasts longer and insulin production and glucagon reduction continues.

GLP-1 and Heart Failure

A class of medications commonly prescribed to lower blood sugar in diabetic patients appears to protect them from developing heart failure, according to a study at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

"People with diabetes are at risk for developing heart failure," says Henry Ford researcher and cardiologist David Lanfear, M.D., lead author of the study. "Diabetic adults die of heart disease two to four times more than those without diabetes.

"Our study data suggest that diabetic patients taking a particular class of medications are less likely to develop heart failure," adds Dr. Lanfear.

The results will be presented March 10 at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting in San Francisco.

There are more than 25 million adults and children in the U.S. with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. The ADA estimates that nearly 80 million people may be pre-diabetic, with nearly two million new cases diagnosed in adults in 2010. In 2007, diabetes contributed to a total of 231,404 deaths.

Video: GLP-1 and Diabetes

The retrospective study looked at 4,427 diabetic patients who were taking blood-sugar-lowering medications at Henry Ford Hospital between January 1, 2000 and July 1, 2012. Of these patients, 1,488 were taking GLP-1 medications (glucagon-like peptide-1 analogs and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors) and 2,939 were not.

Over an observation time of 663 days, there were 281 hospitalizations, of which 184 were due to heart failure, and 158 deaths.

Results were adjusted for factors such as gender, age, race, coronary disease, heart failure, duration of diabetes, and the number of anti-diabetic medications, in order to identify the effect specifically attributable to taking GLP-1 medications. The researchers also looked at hospitalizations and deaths from all causes.

Use of GLP1 medications was associated with a reduced risk of hospitalization for heart failure or any other reason, as well as fewer deaths.


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